Poetry: Dear Mucha

It is raining in Manhattan. I am sitting in a chair overlooking 14th street and I realize you were right. I told you that people are taller than buildings. I told you that there are many green places in the city. Look at Central Park, for instance.

In the morning pink light falls across hardwood floor, spreading out like a thousand peonies, and I imagine that it is a greeting from you. But it is nighttime now, and raining so it makes no difference if I tell you a few real things. Today I saw a billboard advertising cigarettes and in a fit of frenzy went home and burned dinner.

And could you love me if I was pretty enough to be painted on your billboards? I would let my hair down long enough to collect pools of curls at my waist. I would pose naked in front of your tall landscapes and reach out with both arms pulling this city into my body.

And Mucha, the weather is all over this house.

I thought of such things while walking to a shop to buy cigarettes. In Manhattan, the streets smell like a wet cement and baked bread. It feels like the whole city is yawning. I, too, am tired of this body.

Yours, Catherine

-Catherine Bresner in Burnt District

Quotidian: Creativity

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This beautiful quote was hand-lettered by Foolish Fire

Video of the Day – Gorgeous, Dreamy “Ambien”

‘Ambien’ by Sarah Sloat from Nic Sebastian on Vimeo.

YA Book Review: Airhead by Meg Cabot

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Airhead, Meg Cabot

HATED this book. One of the most sexist narratives I’ve ever read, and from a woman, to boot.

Emerson Watts is comfortable in her own skin. She loves video games, medical documentaries, and hanging out with her equally nerdy best friend Christopher, whom she only wishes would see her as a girl instead of his asexual buddy. Until a bizarre accident makes her a participant in a brain transplant meant to save her life, in which she’s given the body – and forced to take over the identity – of a world-famous teen supermodel.

………….
………….

Leaving the sheer bloody ludicrousness of the plot aside, the message this book is sending – to teen girls no less – is that it’s not okay or enough to just have interests and be yourself and have nerdy interests (interests which in real life would make you totally hot to a lot of guys, something the book was conspicuously silent on – do you know how many guys would love a woman who plays video games? A LOT). You can’t *just* be smart and have hobbies and your own personality – you must ALSO have the body of a supermodel and a smile that turns virtually every guy who sees into jelly.

Because at the end of the day, why settle for being yourself? When you can be smart, nerdy, AND hot? Thus fulfilling every male fantasy ever??? Seriously if Cabot had created a female character with men in mind she couldn’t have done a better job. Em in this novel becomes the teenage epitome of Gillian Flynn’s accurately-sketched, terrible Cool Girl in Gone Girl. The representation of Male Desire and its supremacy in culture and in narrative.

I HATED this novel with every fiber of my literature-loving, chick-lit-loving, feminist body. Excuse me while I go read some Kafka, *anything,* to get this taste out of my mouth.

P.S. Emerson – or rather her body – expires when a TV falls on her. I’m not making this stuff up, folks. 

P.P.S. The fact that there are two more books in this series makes me want to enlist The Bride (see Kill Bill if you haven’t seen it yet y’all) to track Cabot down and put the fear of woman into her so she never writes such a book again. I’ve read and liked/loved a lot of Cabot. This, is unworthy of her.

Separate Beds: Short Fiction

If all short stories had the fierce, ferocious immediacy of Jahla Seppanen’s, I’d read a lot more short stories.

“I don’t miss her as I thought I would. Sure, at night, but what’s night without some loneliness. Even when we were married I would wake up, her on the far side of the bed and me on the other, and I would feel lonely although she was close. My parents slept in separate beds. They said it helped parry feelings of being unwanted. When they kissed in the morning over coffee and eggs, it was a real kiss. Not an afterthought to the seven o’clock alarm. Not a simple recognition of the other’s being. A real kiss.

The separation began when I suggested spending a month in Morocco.”

Read more at Turk’s Head Review

Foxes ‘Doctor Who’ Performance – “Don’t Stop Me Now”

Foxes cover Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” with airy, velvet perfection in Doctor Who‘s “Mummy on the Orient Express” episode.

Poetry: Mornings

She would have cooked
his breakfast, eggs sunny-side up,
runny the way he liked them,
strong boiled coffee poured
and waiting, better than the diner.
But before the train screaming
through tunnels, his windowless office,
the idiots he had to “sir,”
he needed a space without her
or his children, so he dressed
in a crack of light from the bathroom,
held his shoes by two fingers,
and left them sleeping. That walk

to the diner was his time

Read more at Burnt District

-Susan Aizenberg

Dear Readers: Autumn Love Letter

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Remember to tell someone you love them today, or text a friend telling them you still remember that good memory you made together.

Remember to go outside sometimes and really see the sky, drink it in for a minute, blue and gray and green. Take a deep breath and feel the fullness of your being, you are here, you are really here in that moment.

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It’s autumn weather and it’s time to curl up indoors. Let peace sink in, and gratitude for the strong walls that keep out the cold and the weather but let you watch rain fall like a flurry of starry silver on your windowpanes. Make some easy Parisian drinking chocolate. Eat fruit. Watch The Flash and re-read old romantic classics like Pride and Prejudice and North and South. Because it’s getting colder, you’ll probably be out a little less – start cooking more. Enjoy your roommate and/or family. Have people over every few weeks, and serve them simple, warm food, like lemon chicken orzo soup and sweet potato casserole, and lots of wine.

Deep-clean your room and bathroom, and string up some Christmas lights. They use very little electricity so leave them on all night long and watch them blinking until you fall asleep. Listen to more jazz and folk as the weather turns. Don’t be cross, or cold. Get up 40 minutes before you need to leave for work, and turn on plenty of lights, and drink tea or coffee while eating eggs fried with thyme, and buttered bread, slowly.

Love your home. Love the weather. Make art. Stay warm. Autumn is here.

-Love Coffeegirl 

Thank you to Linebreak for publishing one of my poems!

linebreak poem claire hellar

Lovely followers, I’m so excited to say that Linebreak, one of my very favorite poetry publications, picked up one of my poems, “Kitchen Ode”! Please read below and share on Facebook/Twitter if so inclined! (There are handy links at the bottom of the page)

Read or listen to “Kitchen Ode”  on Linebreak

Book Review: The Emperor’s Blades, plus Waiting on Wednesday Book Meme

New WoWWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which bloggers post about an upcoming book they’re eagerly waiting for.

I’ve been eagerly anticipating Ashley Weaver’s Murder at the Brightwell, which sounds like the most delicious murder mystery ever, a beautiful cocktail of romance, 30’s beachy glamour, and murder, but since it came out yesterday (I have already requested it at the library), it would be cheating to include it. So I’ll go with my other choice, the second book in Brian Stavely’s Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne, The Providence of Fire.

the emperor's blades book coverThe first book in the Unhewn Series, The Emperor’s Blades, was rich, fast-paced, and immensely satisfying – it did a brilliant job of laying out three, strong personalities and their very different worlds, and then culminating them at the end. It was largely the tale of hot-headed yet brilliant Valyn, the emperor’s son who has been in training his whole life as one of the Emperor’s Blades, warrior-assassins who are put through years of intensive, regimented training in all kinds of weaponry as well as stealth tactics, survival, etc. Valyn is already a gifted, deadly force at the beginning of the novel, and only grows as it goes on, also stepping for the first time into a leadership position he’ll have to learn how to exercise.

A world away, his brother Kaden, the heir to the throne, is a pupil at a remote monastery where he learns what seems to him esoteric and useless skills – which might one day save his life.

Continue reading

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